File - Twenty four karat gold bars are seen at the United States West Point Mint facility in West Point, New York June 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
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The London gold fix, the benchmark used by miners, jewelers and central banks to value the metal, may have been manipulated for a decade by the banks setting it, researchers say.The paper is the first to raise the possibility that the five banks overseeing the century-old rate – Barclays Plc, Deutsche Bank AG, Bank of Nova Scotia, HSBC Holdings Plc and Societe Generale SA – may have been actively working together to manipulate the benchmark.Officials at London Gold Market Fixing Ltd., the company owned by the banks that administer the rate, referred requests for comment to Societe Generale, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the group. Officials at Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Societe Generale declined to comment on the report and the future of the benchmark. The process is unregulated and the five banks can trade gold and its derivatives throughout the call.Bloomberg News reported in November concerns among traders and economists that the fixing banks and their clients had an unfair advantage because information gleaned from the calls provided an insight into the future direction of prices and banks can bet on spot and derivatives markets during the call.
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